Alumni Spotlight: Omaru Washington C’15, Global Senior Analyst – Tiffany & Co.

Omaru is Tiffany & Co.’s global senior analyst supporting implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics tool, planning new product strategies, supporting new retail store opening strategies, and partnering with global teams to implement planning functions to deliver optimal sales growth in EMEA. Omaru has experiences in global strategy, industrial and consumer goods, consumer engagement, product design and development, data analytics, market research and economic development. Prior to assuming his current role, he interned for United Nations as a data analytics and business intelligence analyst and supported country assessment, data mining, and analytic reporting to senior management. Before that, Omaru was a consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP. He worked on private and public-sector projects. At Deloitte public-sector, he worked with clients on data analysis and technology implementation. Omaru also collaborated with Deloitte’s Emerging Market teams to support international clients with economic research, industrialization, global diversity and market competitiveness. At Deloitte private-sector, he worked with clients on strategy, analytics and consumer engagement. Omaru appreciates working in fast-paced and diverse teams to scale operation and organization, design and launch innovative products and enter emerging markets.

Omaru earned a MSc, with merit, in Emerging Economies and International Development from King’s College London in 2018. Omaru also earned a BA, with honor and distinction, from Drew University in 2015. Overall, Omaru is passionate about entrepreneurship, product design, consumer market and narrowing gender investing gap. He values designing innovative products that will support global economic growth and shape tomorrow’s future and prosperous communities.

VALUE OF DREW

Omaru was born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia during the Civil War. At the age of 5 his family escaped to Guinea and in 2001 he moved to the U.S. for education purposes.  He was attracted to Drew because it offered a great financial package, and he loved the small campus. He knew it would offer an opportunity for him to develop one-on-one relationships with professors.

Omaru was a Baldwin Scholar and started Drew as a chemistry major but lost interest in the subject and moved to Economics after a friend recommended he take some courses.  He realized he was not only good at this subject but he also enjoyed it.  Omaru said the reason he liked economics was, “it touches on many different fields and you become more worldly through studying it.” He comes from a family of entrepreneurs, his grandmother and mother were in the textile business, producing fabrics in Mali.  He said, “I always loved the idea of starting a business and I knew studying economics would give me more insight into management, finance, development, and a global economic perspective.”

Omaru did the Semester on Wall Street and did a shortTREC Study abroad experience in Japan. He was also an active part of Student Government, the Drew Economics Business Society, the International Society, and the INTO program.

His best memories of Drew include the friends he made, especially his best friend, who are all still in his life.  He said, “I learned so much at Drew, whether studying in or out of the classroom.  The faculty were so knowledgeable and supportive, pushing me to excellence.” Three professors who were strong mentors were Economic Professors Marc Tomljanovich, Jennifer Olmsted, and Maliha Safri. He said, “They were great inspirational individuals.”

HONORS THESIS

He wrote his Honors thesis on: “Ghana’s Elite Female Entrepreneurs: What Can Policy Makers Learn from Their Success?”  which analyzed the management and strategies of Ghana’s elite female entrepreneurs and proposed strategies government and investors can implement to support closing the gender investing gap.  He was inspired by the entrepreneurial women in his family.  He said, “Being born and raised in Africa, you get to see women in every facet of the economy, whether it’s government or the marketplace.  Studying economics and being in the U.S. and knowing there is such constraint against women, even now, but there is more development of women in Africa, as they are a driving force in the African economy.  I wanted to focus on what women entrepreneurs are doing so policy makers, government and private sectors can look and see how they can invest in female businesses and entrepreneurship.  I felt it would give a voice to a subject that at the time there wasn’t a lot of literature on. Females do have a strong influence in the economy.  Over the summer I went to Ghana for a month to do my field work including the case studies interviewing all the women.”

INTERNSHIPS

GOLDMAN SACHS

I was new to the Economics Department and new to the financial sector.  Former Economics Professor Marc Tomljanovich told me I would do well in Finance and recommended that I apply for an internship at Goldman Sachs.  I was a rising junior at the time when I applied and I believe my cover letter/statement of why I wanted to work for Goldman Sachs helped me get an interview.  All my Economics’ professors gave me articles and books to read and provided interview prep and thankfully, I was well prepared for the six interviews and I was hired as their first pick. This was exciting for me and the Econ department. As an intern, I worked within the operational risk management team and we looked at the best way to protect Goldman Sachs from any type of risk either domestic or internationally.  A lot of it was case study based which prepared me for my later consulting career. We had to look at hypotheticals and figure out how to protect the company when it’s being faced by so many risks, whether it’s from people, processes, or systems.  If another 9/11 happens how do, we make sure that Goldman Sachs is secure so it can perform the same way if not better. It’s not a typical internship where you are on one team, every day was something different. I worked with every part of the company because we had to know how they were operating to ensure how best to secure and protect Goldman Sachs for the short and long run.

APPLE

In my senior year, my best friend and I were both hired at Apple, to help them boost their retail presence and retail strategy for the U.S. It was a marketing and consumer based internship based out of the Short Hills location.  We observed employees with customers and helped employees interact the best way with their customers.  It was a great real-world introduction to retail.

What inspired you to get your Master of Science in the Emerging Economies and International Development in King’s College of London?  How has this degree further advanced your career?

At Drew I learned about economics more domestically and internationally but the reason I went to King’s College of London for my Master’s was because I worked as a consultant at Deloitte and I worked two or three years there and learned a lot there but wanted to get more exposure in international development.  In this master’s program I learned how businesses operate in different countries.  Through my studies I learned that for businesses to transform and compete in global markets, they must establish institutions across strategy, data and operation. Institutions that will enable designing customer-centric network, enhancing R&D strategies, leading innovation, nurturing human capital, and using data and analytic practices to improve global operations and processes. I think the master’s program gave me a global lens to that topic.

Can you talk a little bit about your experience working for the U.N. as an Analytics and Business Analyst for 4 months?

This happened during my Master’s program. Beyond understanding development and economics, I’m also good with numbers and data and the U.N. needed someone with a combination of my skills coupled with my consulting background.  My role was focused on how to make U.N. operations become more efficient.  I did global projects for instance in Congo. My team would analyze the data for that mission and recommend different strategies to help the U.N. to use data more effectively to allocate their funds to the right places.

SAJ DAMAR

You are Co-founder/CEO and Creative Director SAJ Damar. Why did you start this business and what services do you provide?

My best friend and I started this business a year and a half ago.  We are both Africans and come from a family where women are entrepreneurs and very ambitious. Besides having a gift for economics, I’m also creative and good at design and fashion.  We both decided to start a brand that brings the world of creative designs to our generation by telling stories that connect Africa with the world. We started with men’s shirts first. Our goal is to introduce women’s clothes in 2022, which will give us time to plan strategically while the current global pandemic eases down. We would also like to try working with women entrepreneurs in Africa. Overall, introducing our womenswear in 2022 will be an opportunity for us to tell our stories well and the great stories of Africa. We are both inspired by our entrepreneurial mothers.

TIFFANY & CO.

Can you tell me about your job as Global Senior Analyst at Tiffany & Co.?

It’s international luxury jewelry company in every market around the world. It’s one of America’s most exclusive and oldest brands. It has a lot of market power and influence.  As a Global Senior Analyst, I support my team in a variety of ways.  We make sure that Tiffany investments are put to the right markets.  When a new collection is released, it is my team that decides where that collection should go around the world. We define global strategies for every Tiffany product and countries the company operates in.  If we are going to be in a new market, we support brand’s positioning analysis for that market from retail, space and sales perspectives.  We also support retail transformation from the allocation of product to the setup and opening of new and relocation stores. My team makes sure that every single product in a retail store is positioned for sales success. There is a lot of strategy and planning behind the scene. We work with our corporate partners to make sure together we are building a better and stronger Tiffany.  The reason I joined Tiffany instead of going into a finance or banking career, is to learn more practical business skills that will prepare me to develop my apparel brand. Being at Tiffany, I am learning so much about corporate development, strategic planning, retail transformation, product development, consumer behavior, etc.  We are even using A.I. to do analytics projects and emerging technology and luxury strategy together.

What do you think is the key to your success as a business analyst?

I think its diversity in knowledge which makes you more valuable to your team and your company. Business is not stagnant, so you must be able to adjust to changes very quickly and intelligently.

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS

What advice would you tell students who are interested in a career as a business analyst? 

Do not be afraid of taking risks.  Sometimes you want to apply for a company and you don’t think you have a chance.  If I had that mindset, I wouldn’t have worked at all the places I worked.  Taking risks has taken me this far.  Then look for mentors.  Look at other people who are doing what you want to do and reach out to them.  They can help you with career advice, etc.  If you want to be a business analyst, talk to someone who is a business analyst.  Don’t necessarily ask for jobs, just build these relationships and learn from them. Get a mentor who will give you the truth and can help prepare you for that career.

What advice would you give students who are interested in starting their own business?

Create business based on experience and passion not spontaneity. Make sure you have wealth of experience before you attempt a business. Without experience, you get a lack of structure and organization.  Learn as much as you can before you attempt a business and most important remember to have fun.

FINAL QUESTIONS

What career other than your own would you like to attempt?

Investment banking. I’ve always been told I’d make a great investment banker.

Where would you like to travel tomorrow if you could travel anywhere in the world?

London.  It is also another capital for business.  It is also centrally located and has a large international community. So easy to make friends there.

Fun fact or hobbies or activities you would like to share?

I love music and cooking.  Classical music.  I played cello for 8 years.  Wonderful.

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